Kyenge says Italy will 'gradually' change citizenship law

Reform must involve society, says minister

Kyenge says Italy will 'gradually' change citizenship law

Turin, May 20 - The Italian government should "gradually" find its way to extending citizenship automatically to children born in this country, Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge said Monday. She spoke just days after Angelino Alfano, Italy's interior minister and deputy premier, said the issue was not a priority for the government. Kyenge, who has been pressing the issue, refused to respond directly to Alfano's statement when she spoke to reporters Monday at the Turin Book Fair. But she made it clear that she wasn't losing hope. "We need to meet and gradually get to a proposal," on ensuring the Italian-born children of migrants are given citizenship status, she said. The issue, she added, is one "that must be tackled through an atmosphere of confrontation and dialogue, involving both civil society and the state institutions". As she spoke, members of the right-wing Fratelli d'Italia mounted a flash-mob protest on Rome's Spanish Steps, unfurling a banner expressing their opposition to an opening up of citizenship laws. Kyenge, a doctor who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is Italy's first black cabinet minister. Her efforts to reform Italy's immigration laws have been running into strong opposition. The anti-immigrant Northern League and other parties on the right have argued for tougher immigration laws and enforcement, and have warned that Kyenge's proposals would increase the flow of migrants into the country.

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